Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sweets and the City: Desserts from Everywhere

Yes, I'm one of those people who say dessert is the most important part of the meal. And yes, I sometimes skip the entree and go straight to dessert without thinking twice. All thanks to my massive, insane sweet tooth.

So, here's a dessert version of the list of noteworthy coffee shops that I posted a while back. Just like coffee, there are so many great options to get your sugar fix in the city, and the following are just a few of my recommendations (again, in no particular order).

1. Levain Bakery's chocolate chip walnut cookie — Upper West Side, Harlem

Chocolate chip walnut cookie — UWS location

Talk about heaven in cookie form. Levain Bakery's chocolate chip walnut cookie is seriously a godsend — and that's an understatement. This incredibly rich, indulgent and HUGE cookie will set you back $4, but as soon as you sink your teeth into this glorious creation, you'll know that every single penny is worth it.

2. Spot's green tea chocolate lava cake — East Village, Koreatown

Green tea lava cake — EV location

I've raved about this before. I had it again recently, and yes, it's still heavenly.

3. Junior's devil's food cheesecake — various locations

Devil's food cheesecake — Times Square location

Woah there, diabetes. When did you get here? Once you see and eat this ever-famous cheesecake from Junior's, you'll immediately feel like you gained 5 lbs on the spot, but holy mother of cheesecakes, this thing is incredible. The $6.95 slice of cheesecake is super dense and creamy (just how I like it), and the layers of chocolate cake are very moist and decadent. The frosting was a bit much for me, so I scraped a lot of it off, but this was still an unforgettably delicious dessert.

4. Dessert Club, ChikaLicious' red velvet cake, molten chocolate lava cake — East Village

Red velvet cake

Simple but delicious, Dessert Club, ChikaLicious' red velvet cake was a pleasant surprise. The light yet decadent layers of red velvet cake go very well with the sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. While the size of this slice was quite big, it still set me back $5.95, which may seem a bit pricey for what it is to some.

Molten chocolate lava cake

The molten chocolate lava cake also deserves some love here. Baked to perfection with a gooey center, the lava cake pairs perfectly with the vanilla bean (packed with natural vanilla flavor!) ice cream. This'll cost you $6.95, which again, may seem a bit much, but it's actually a cheaper alternative to Spot's green tea chocolate lava cake.

5. Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding — various locations

Banana pudding — Rockefeller Center location
Should've taken a pic of the inside, huh...

Everybody loves Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding, and they totally live up to the hype. A hefty tub of vanilla pudding with pieces of vanilla wafers and banana throughout, this smooth and luxurious dessert is definitely worth the $5. Plus, no need to wait in the ridiculously long cupcake line that spreads across the entire block!

6. Wafels & Dinges' liege wafel with spekuloos — various locations

Liege wafel with spekuloos spread — City Hall cart

OH MY GOD, COULD THESE BE ANY MORE PERFECT? Get off your computer, track down a Wafel & Dinges cart/truck (or go to their cafe on 5th St. & Ave. B) and get this chewy, sweet and life-changing dessert. You may be $5 poorer, but I promise, you won't be disappointed. Also, spekuloos = orgasm in a spread.

7. Cha-An's black sesame creme brulee with black sesame ice cream — East Village

Black sesame creme brulee with black sesame ice cream and a black sesame crisp on top

I'm not a huge fan of creme brulee, but Cha-An's black sesame creme brulee is pretty awesome. I love the use of black sesame in a sweet dish because it gives a great nutty flavor, and generally, the overall taste is not overly sweet. This $9 creme brulee was just that, with the added creaminess and richness from the custard. The black sesame ice cream on top was just as delicious and gave the entire dish a refreshing finish.

8. Butter Lane's cupcakes — East Village

Clockwise: blueberry on vanilla, sea salt chocolate on chocolate, salted caramel on vanilla and the Elvis (peanut butter on banana)
Middle: complimentary frosting shot in pumpkin 

Ever since cupcakes became an insane food fad, I've had my share of the overhyped (sorry I'm not sorry) dessert in and outside NYC, and Butter Lane's are definitely some of the best I've had. Something about these sets them apart from others — perhaps it's the soft and airy cake? Or maybe the creamy and nongreasy frosting? Not sure, but these are worth the $3.25 price tag.

9. Laduree's macarons — Upper East Side, various locations abroad

18 macarons, one of every flavor, courtesy of a dear friend — UES location

Comparable to Bouchon's, which I raved about here, Laduree's macarons are also no joke. Originally founded in 1862 in Paris, Laduree is not only famous for their scrumptious macarons but also for the beautiful packaging and store design. Of course, this means that what you find here will not be much of a bargain — one macaron will leave $2.80-sized hole in your wallet, but again, once you bite into one of these, you won't regret spending so much for them.

Sorry if this list gave you 1) an intense craving for some dessert 2) toothache and/or 3) diabetes. Remember, everything in moderation! ...says the girl who eats cake for dinner.

1 comment:

  1. STOP IT, IT'S ALMOST MIDNIGHT...and now i'm off to bake pumpkin bread. Here's to my baked treats lasting more than 12 hours! great post! ;)